University of California President Janet Napolitano addressed the Supreme Court’s upcoming arguments about the future of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Friday in Fresno at the Economic Summit.
“The stakes are high if the Supreme Court were to accept the Trump Administration's opinion,” she told reporters. “That would mean that DACA could go away and DACA students then would be at risk and living with the fear of being subject to deportation at any time.”
The Obama-era program gives people brought to the U.S. as children work permits and protection from deportation.
Napolitano authorized the DACA policy in 2012 while she was the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. Under her watch, the University of California was the first university to sue the federal government after the Trump administration’s attempt to rescind the program two years ago.
There are at least 1,700 DACA students in UC schools and more than 700,000 in the country, she said. There would be an immediate economic impact in California, Napolitano said, if the program is rescinded because DACA recipients are employed and pay taxes.
“These are young people, as I said earlier, they really only know the United States as home and it just seems so irrational and unfair to throw the weight of the U.S. immigration system against them,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano said she’s optimistic the Supreme Court will not agree with the Trump Administration. She said she will be in Washington D.C to hear the oral arguments on Tuesday.
In September, The Fresno City Council joined more than 40 other cities across the country in a legal brief that supports three DACA cases also going before the Supreme Court Tuesday.